TODAY • Get Your Facts Straight! • Writing Effective Headlines • Rules • Good & Bad Examples • Copy Guidelines • Review Tips 1-15 of 66 News writing tips • “GAS STATION ROBBERY” Info • To the lab! (deadline = end of the period) • grading based on strength of lead, adherence to inverted pyramid, and headline • HOMEWORK: • NONE – TEST FRIDAY I’ve had the song from the Taco Bell “Late Night Munchies” commercial in my head for the past week.
GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT • In what country is the Amsterdam News printed? • Under the Articles of Confederation, who was the first U.S. president? • How much is admission to the Smithsonian Museums? • Where did the New York Giants play baseball? • What religion has the largest number of adherents in the world?
TIPS FOR WRITING HEADLINES • Use the active voice: Effective headlines usually involve logical sentence structure, active voice and strong present-tense verbs. As with any good writing, good headlines are driven by good verbs. • A “capital” idea: The first word in the head should be capitalized as should all proper nouns. Most headline words appear in lower-case letters. Do not capitalize every word. • Number, please: Numbers often go against AP style in headlines. For example, you may start a sentence with a number and, even though that number is below 10, you do not have to spell it out. • Example: 3 die in crash
TIPS FOR WRITING HEADLINES CONTINUED… • It’s xx-rated? Fill each line of the head within two units of the letter “x” in lower case. Do not have one line of a multi-line head too short. Note: The two-“x” rule for this class is not a rule that is universally followed. Some publications allow greater leeway; most do not, some requiring you to come even closer. Nevertheless, the two-“x” rule is a good one to follow.) • Example: • Lincoln, Douglas to debate at new KU Dole Centerxxx (not acceptable —3 x's short)
TIPS FOR WRITING HEADLINES CONTINUED… • Punctuation normal — mostly: Headline punctuation is normal with two significant exceptions: Use periods for abbreviations only, and use single quotes where you would use double quotes in a story. • Example (single quotes): • Lincoln: ‘The war has begun’Moreover, note the use of the colon (substituting for the word “said”). The colon can be used for introducing both a direct quote and a paraphrase. • Example (paraphrase): • Lincoln: War inevitable; victory essentialThe semicolon (above) is used normally: separating two thoughts of equal weight.
TIPS FOR WRITING HEADLINES CONTINUED… • Who is it? What is it?: Don't use proper names or abbreviations in headlines unless the name or abbreviation is well-known enough to be recognized immediately. • Don’t be cute, unless cute is called for: Don't yield to the temptation to write cute headlines or to use faddish or commercial slogans unless doing so fits especially well with the content and tone of the story. • “Polly want a cracker?” Don't just parrot the lead of the story, and try to avoid stealing the reporter's thunder on a feature story. A good headline captures the essence of the story without pillaging — and, therefore, dulling — the writer's punch. • Do not editorialize, exaggerate, generalize or use long words. Keep it simple and direct.
TIPS FOR WRITING HEADLINES CONTINUED… • No “a” or “and” or “the”? Avoid the use of the articles a, an and the unless they are needed for clarity. • Watch out for ambiguity and the double entendre: Be especially careful to read for hidden meanings and when a noun could be a verb and vice versa. • Finally, the “doo-dah” rule: Headlines, like poetry and songs, should have a rhythm about them. After each line of the headline, simply say “doo-dah” to see if it “sings” • Example: • City's singers “doo-dah” in good tune “doo-dah”
Good Headlines U.S. rips Ryder Cup from Europeans' grasp Dr. Seuss, man of rhyme and reason, dies at 87 SCARLET FEVER World ready for 'Gone with the Wind' sequel (“kicker” headline atop main headline)
Problem Headlines Law profs(Avoid “forced” abbreviations) nix Thomas(I bet you say “nix” all the time) Police chase winds through three towns (Are “chase” and “winds” verbs or nouns?) USD #269 Board of Education meets (Where is the “news”?)
Problem Headlines Potential witness to murder drunk (Isn't it against the law to murder a drunk?) Dead cats protest(Beware the no-verb headline) Dole and Bush dead even in Kansas polls ("dead" or "dead even"?) Services for man who refused to hate Thursday in Atlanta (he really hated Mondays though)